Elizabeth Stuart Phelps Ward

The Unseen Preacher

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He spoke of souls that stooped and sinned,
Of hearts that turned to roam;
He spoke of human restlessness,
Of exile and of home,


Of earth's eternal vagrancies.
"O slow!" he cried, "to start
And throw thy truant childhood back
Upon thy Father's heart.


"That life must walk uncomforted,
That leans not on His breast:
They only know that God is Love
Who learn that God is Rest."


He spoke, and on his lifted face
The prophet's halo crept:
Like reeds within his outstretched hands,
The people bowed, and wept.


But in the chancel's solemn shade,
She saw a glamour sweet.
"Beloved!" said she, "was it you
Fled by with flashing feet;


"Across the holy desk and book,
Beside the holy man,
Swift as a thought, and silent as
Only the vanished can;


"Passed and stood listening, pois├Ęd there,
All in a dream of light,--
Paused to attend the sacred Word
As only a spirit might?


"As angels must, then, pity me,
So tempted and so blessed!
And teach me how, O loved and lost,
To go to Him for rest!


"Oh teach me how, when any world,
Or dark, or bright, or dim,
Containeth thee, to give my first,
My best of love to Him!"

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